Television evidence supports referee on decision to give Northampton goal against Plymouth Argyle
TELEVISION evidence showed referee David Phillips was spot on to award the goal which sent Plymouth Argyle crashing to defeat at Northampton Town on Saturday.
The Pilgrims protested long and loud that goalkeeper Jake Cole had been fouled when trying to catch a corner in the 70th minute.
They vehemently claimed Cole had been impeded when he attempted to grab the ball at the far post.
He was – but, as TV replays showed, by his own team-mate Paris Cowan-Hall rather than any of the Northampton players.
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Cole lost his balance and spilled the ball, which ended up in the net and with the Argyle keeper appealing in vain for a free-kick.
It was initially credited as an own goal by Cole but later it was decided Northampton striker Clive Platt had touched the ball over the line.
Either way, it was the goal which condemned Argyle to a costly defeat.
Many of the players raced towards the referee after he awarded the goal and they were clearly arguing Cole had been impeded.
Phillips, though, waved away their protests and booked midfielder Paul Wotton in the process.
Argyle manager John Sheridan voiced his anger towards fourth official Richard Wigglesworth and continued to do so.
That led to Sheridan receiving a lecture from the referee during a break in play.
After the final whistle, there were further complaints to Phillips from Argyle, with Cole and coach Gary Owers in long conversation with him on the pitch.
However, none of that changed the fact that Northampton had taken maximum points from a fiercely-contested clash.
Sheridan spoke to the media only minutes after the match had ended and had not had a chance to see any TV evidence of the controversial incident.
He said: "It's a clear foul on the keeper. It's only him (Phillips) who doesn't see it. It's ridiculous."
Sheridan used his three, permitted substitutes after the goal, sending on the attacking trio of Gozie Ugwu, Andres Gurrieri and Ronan Murray.
But the Pilgrims could not come up with a late equaliser as they slipped to their 15th defeat in 33 League Two games this season.
Sheridan said: "Performance-wise, I thought we were well in the game up until the goal. We were defending really well and we played decent football.
"It was the manner of the goal which set us back. We didn't get back in the game after that."
Argyle centre-back Guy Branston was also adamant Cole had been fouled when he was interviewed by Herald Sport.
He said: "It's alright saying it's a tough job for referees but that's a blatant bad decision. It has cost us a goal in a game we were on top of."
Branston was also very critical of the overall performance of Phillips, who has been on the Football League list since 2008.
"The referee couldn't wait to stop things," said the 34-year-old defender.
"There were fouls going on, yes, but some of the stuff he was stopping it for weren't even fouls.
"It's very disappointing. The lads are gutted in there (the dressing room).
"We are now bottom of the league and a clean sheet would have really set us up for a good game tomorrow (away to relegation rivals AFC Wimbledon)."
Branston was among the most vocal of Argyle's players as they appealed to Phillips about his decision to award the goal.
He said: "You are fuming and you challenge them in the way they to want to. You go over there and approach them in a nice manner.
"Then they still want to get the cards out because you are approaching them."